The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 4

    Tear Gassed